Virgin Trains Photo call Photograph by Martin Shields Tel 07572 457000 www.martinshields.com © Martin Shields

Virgin Trains customers now have the chance to skip ticket office queues with the introduction of hand-held ticketing devices across the Virgin network.

The new tablet technology is designed to improve the operator’s customer service, by allowing travellers to make the most of new tablet technology, while not losing the benefits of person to person interaction between staff and customer.

This move follows those in other sectors such as banking or retail, where there has been an increase in staff moving from behind a screen to a position where they can aid customers directly. This adds flexibility and is a more efficient way of helping customers find their way through Britain’s rail network.

The system also helps reduce paper wastage by giving attendants the ability to issue digital tickets directly to mobile phones, part of an ongoing attempt by Virgin to make travelling on their trains as sustainable as possible.

The new system will also allow Virgin Trains staff to be as responsive as possible to the needs of customers. Staff will be more accessible and able to provide more immediate support to help passengers with ticketing, onward travel or mobility issues.

Known as Avocet, the technology was rolled out across the Virgin Trains network in August after being trialled successfully at several major stations. It is another step in making Virgin services as efficient and environmentally and customer-friendly as can be.

Nick Dodd, Director of Digital Projects at Virgin Trains, was keen to stress that the new technology will help staff members to be adaptable and to help customers in a multitude of ways. He said that “Avocet is giving us flexibility. Our people can work behind a window, on the concourse, on the platforms or within the ticket machine vending area.”

He praised the system’s ability to help customers with accessibility needs, and pointed out that by being able to help customers across different areas within stations is integral to achieving Virgin’s aim of meeting all passengers’ needs.

He said that “It’s about opening up ticket offices and ensuring customers have better access to our frontline teams as well. This approach has been successfully adopted in banks and on the high street so it makes sense to introduce it at our stations, but we are taking this a step further as we are focusing on face to face engagement whilst making best use of the technology in a customer’s own pocket – their mobile phone.”